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Unfortunately, the self-publishing industry got a bad name due to some companies providing a poor service with false promises at high cost to the author. We have heard too many sad stories to ignore the fact that so many authors have been disappointed when the publisher they used simply didn’t deliver.

This document sets out to assist new authors avoid this happening and ensure they have a trouble-free experience in getting their book published.

In highlighting the pitfalls and experiences of others, we also explain what we do to ensure our authors have the best possible experience, and the results can be seen in the many testimonials and awards we have received from independent sources over many years, both of which can be viewed on this site.

What to be aware of:

The pitfalls

Regrettably, some of our authors have come to us after having a bad experience with another publisher. There are several main reasons why they become dissatisfied.

  • Unrealistically high expectations set.
  • False promises as to the ‘guaranteed’ sales they will achieve.
  • Forced into purchasing large initial quantities of their books.
  • Poor service
  • Spiralling hidden costs
  • No one point of contact
  • Contract clauses for future works
  • Poor quality printing
  • Paid but nothing was done

Yes, the last one is true.  One of our authors paid a USA publisher over $3,000 but after 18 months and a stream of emails to them, nothing was done.

These are just few of the horror stories we have head, be sure to read the small print and look for independent reviews.

The only publishers who will tell you not the take any notice of testimonials are those who haven’t got any or those who have gained themselves a bad reputation.


What Can ShieldCrest Do?

ShieldCrest can help in several ways depending on the reason for the book. Is it a novel for mass distribution or a private book?

If you are writing a specific book for your business, town, club, church or association, you probably will not need our full range of services so save money by taking our Option 1 only.

If you want to get your work appreciated by a wider audience, read on.

Many, if not all of the mainstream publishing houses now only publish works from established authors and celebrities. Although they might claim to create demand for talented new writers, few, if any do. Why?…

Quite simply, it’s easier for them, as they have less marketing to do by capitalising on the individual’s following. Not unreasonable but it stifles new talent.

A further problem for the new author is that the large publishers only deal through literary agents and they make their living from the books they succeed in publishing, so they too are driven down the same road. Basically, if they don’t meet the demands of the publishers they don’t eat.

The mainstream publisher should also protect the author by guaranteeing a minimum up-front royalty, which should be non-refundable but often they don’t.

Sadly, one of the problems with self-publishing is that some will take thousands of pounds from authors desperate to see their books in print and provide little in return. We have heard of costs as high as $10,000 (£7,000) where the author had to purchase a minimum of 500 copies of his own book. One British author came to us after losing over $3,000 with a US publisher and got nothing in return.

This has got the self-publishing market a bad name – so beware!

Retailers deal on a sale or return basis as they don’t want to be left with unsold books and all returns come out of the author’s royalties. This is the reason traditional publishers pay royalties every 6 months so they can reduce the amount payable by the number of returns.

Everyone in the business recognises there are thousands of excellent manuscripts sitting in desk drawers or agents’ waste baskets. The problem seems insurmountable.


How do you avoid frustration

 ShieldCrest try to fill the gap and we like to regard ourselves as a joint venture partner with our authors.

The start point is to determine if you really do have the talent to write.  All authors are confident they do and if they weren’t, they shouldn’t even start. However, do you really have what it takes?

Sorry if that offends but it is a good idea to get an independent third party to verify this.  They should be able to verify you are able to manage a good storyline and, most importantly, whether you can write in such a way that it captivates the reader.

It helps you, the writer, if someone other than friends and family let you have an honest opinion.

Confidence, tenacity, coping with rejection and perseverance are all qualities the successful writer will have or he will fail, irrespective of any outside help that is provided.

Do you have these qualities?  Test yourself by answering these questions:

  1. How many manuscripts have you produced?
  2. How many people have proof read your work (not just family and close friends) and given feedback?
  3. How many literary agents or publishers have rejected your work to date?

If you have tried hard over a prolonged period and can show you have thought about the steps you need to take, you are ready to line up on the start grid.

If you cannot find a literary agent willing to even read your manuscript then there is a possible alternative.  The recommendation of other authors who have had their work published will carry a lot of weight.

If you’re ready to submit your work with full distribution then let’s go


What about marketing?

Marketing – that vital route to success

There are three things the writer needs to decide.

  1. Are you trying to do it for a living?
  2. Are you doing it for family and friends or to satisfy an urge to see your work in print? Nothing wrong with this, many do.
  3. Could you successfully market your book without much outside assistance?

There are no right or wrong answers to these and it will determine the level of help you need. Ultimately, it will dictate the level of involvement you will require from ShieldCrest.

Let’s clear up one thing right away and it is something, regrettably, that publishers are reticent to tell you or make misleading statements. If you think that retailers up and down the country will wish to place your book on their shelves once they learn it is available, that will not happen. Obviously, shelf space (and cost) is at a premium and reserved for books they know are in demand and will sell quickly. However, book shops local to the author might well do so and be prepared to host book signings.

Similarly, if you think by simply having your book available on Amazon or any of the other major retailer web sites, it will automatically sell thousands, then forget it. If no-one knows the book exist how are they going to find it among the millions of other titles available?

Marketing is key to getting your book known and our most successful authors have taken the lead in opening up their market with our support. But they don’t stop there. As already stated, even if your book manages to get onto a retailers bookshelf, it doesn’t automatically guarantee someone is going to buy it. You certainly can’t make anyone purchase your book.

So what does ShieldCrest do to help?
  • We’re honest about the prospects for new and unknown authors to avoid disappointment and so they don’t think they are going to be an overnight success. However, they can still be successful.
  • To be successful, the author must be fully engaged in the marketing programme.
  • This page describes the wide range of marketing services to help the author get book sales underway.
  • Our news release service to thousands of media specialists potentially interested in your book lets readers know your book is out there which helps accelerate sales.
  • We make the book available in hardcopy and e-Book versions to suit all electronic readers worldwide.
  • We distribute your e-Book globally to Amazon, Kobo and to over 100 distribution channels for download anywhere in the world.
  • We feature all our author’s books on our regular blog which automatically feeds into Facebook and Twitter thereby giving the book a kick start.
  • We have a specific marketing programme targeted at Social Media which features the company’s services and authors books.

Someone else’s opinion of the book will certainly help. We provide the options of written or videoed reviews. The fact it has been reviewed gives it a certain kudos. Don’t worry if the review isn’t as complimentary as you would like, it is someone else’s honest opinion of your book, which can only be helpful. In any event, sometimes the critic’s views are very different to the ultimate reader’s opinion, and it might tempt your customer to find out more.

One word of advice. Paying for an advert is unlikely to work as it is you telling the customer it is good. What author would say otherwise?

The important thing to remember is that we’re always here and never stop helping our authors.


Self-Publishing v Traditional Publishers

Does publishing through anyone other than the established publishing house carry a stigma?

This is an interesting one: –

Various expressions have been used to describe authors who have been unsuccessful in getting their books accepted by a large publishing house such as.

“Ah, this is just self-published.”

“He/she is vanity publishing.”

Such expressions are used in a derogatory way as if the author is just a self-seeking glory hunter and not a serious or talented writer or not as good as one who has been published through a mainstream publisher.

No-one is denying there are advantages getting your work published through a large publishing house. However, for the reasons outlined earlier they can keep themselves busy by simply leaping on the celebrity bandwagon and if you could get yourself on Big Brother or other fly-on-the-wall TV programmes, they would be contacting you for a book.

What they also conveniently forget to tell you is that if they were able to detect talent when they see it, why did well-known authors such as J. K. Rowling, Steven King, Lord Byron, T.S. Eliot, Edgar Allen Poe, Leo Tolstoi, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf and many others, all start by self-publishing.

They were all rejected by mainstream publishers so the self-proclaimed experts aren’t necessarily able to recognise talent when they see it.  However, they were very quick to jump on the bandwagon after their talent was discovered by others.

One author gave the best answer we’ve heard.

He said:

“If a chef, rather than apply for a job at Trusthouse Forte, decided to open his own restaurant,  I don’t think anyone would dismiss it as ‘vanity catering’.

On the contrary, potential diners would be inclined to assume that he might serve up a better, more adventurous meal than they would get in a chain outlet.”

We hope that all helps to answer the question.  

How do we do it for so little cost?

In the previous section we explained the simple 2 Step process to get your book into global circulation and the low cost to achieve it.

You might wonder if there’s a catch and whether there are other hidden costs not specified. This is not the case.

The prices given are complete with no hidden extras.

How we keep our costs down
  1. We share the risk for talented authors so you only pay part of the true cost.
  2. We provide a range of options.
  3. Our authors are not forced into large volumes or expensive packages.
  4. Our production procedures are fully automated.
  5. Each customer is very important to us and we like them to keep coming back.
  6. We work quickly and on low margins.
  7. We take you through easy steps so you control your budget at all times.
  8. We only channel our time and resource with serious authors.
Your security
  1. Most importantly, much of our work comes from recommendation and we want it to stay that way.
  2. We never take your credit card or other payment details. Payment is made either by bank transfer (preferred) or through either PayPal, Stripe or other secure payment systems using any credit or debit card.
  3. Your manuscript is automatically destroyed in the event we do not proceed to publication.
  4. You have our guarantee of satisfaction just like our customer’s testimonials say.
  5. Your credit card payment secures you against non-delivery.
Still not sure?

Then don’t just believe us!  See what our authors have to say.

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